Everything you Need to Know about Drive-Thru COVID Testing


Surging COVID-19 cases in our community and the opening of the Canadian border have contributed to a rapid and large increase in demand for COVID-19 testing at the Whatcom County Health Department Community Testing Site at Bellingham Airport. The Health Department is mobilizing resources to scale up capacity at that location.

To help prevent additional stress at the site, please help us spread the word that testing at the Bellingham Airport site (as well as the Northwest Laboratory drive-thru testing at their main laboratory) is by appointment only.  When people arrive without an appointment to test, they must be turned away. Some of these people have verbally assaulted staff and destroyed property in anger. We ask for your help in not sending people to the airport without first scheduling an appointment.

Providers can order COVID-19 testing for their patients through Northwest Laboratory.  Drive-thru testing is currently available at the Northwest Laboratory main laboratory location on Meridian Street in Bellingham with a physician order. An appointment must be scheduled in advance of arriving for testing.

Providers should complete the NWL requisition and return to the lab:

The Community Testing Site located at the Bellingham Airport collects specimens only ordered through the Whatcom County Health Department.

  • Individuals can make appointments online at TestDirectly.com (preferred option) for symptoms/exposure and for travel testing.
  • For assistance with scheduling:
    • Symptoms or exposure to a confirmed case call WCHD at 360-778-6075 M-F between 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
    • Travel testing call the NWL Call Center at 360-543-6904
  • Testing for travel must be paid for directly and is not billed to insurance.

More details about testing in Whatcom County, including the Community Testing Site and other COVID-19 test providers can be found on the website https://whatcomcounty.us/3388/COVID-19-Testing

Other Testing Sites

Testing for travel is not available at Unity Care NW but is available at many pharmacies in Whatcom County, including screening tests required for travel.  There may be specific requirements from the destination country or state regarding types of specimens and tests, and even limited participating laboratories.

Test Billing

In addition, although diagnostic testing and testing of contacts of cases is billed to insurance or if not insured, to the HRSA COVID-19 Uninsured Program, testing for travel is not billed to insurance and the laboratory fee for travel testing must be paid for directly out-of-pocket.

Contacting the Health Department

360-778-6100     Main Call Line – available M-F 8:30am to 4:30pm

360-715-2588     Afterhours Answering Service – available after 4:30pm and weekends

360-778-6150     Communicable Disease Report Line – 24 hours a day 7 days a week

360-778-6103     Confidential Communicable Disease Fax – 24 hours a day 7 days a week